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Why do bedbugs stink?

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Domestic bed bugs are one of the most unpleasant representatives of insects. Their presence brings a lot of inconvenience to humans, as they feed on blood and leave behind feces and chitinous membranes, which can cause allergies and asthma. In addition, bedbugs lay their larvae in the most secluded places of the apartment. I wonder if it is possible to determine the presence of bed bugs by their characteristic odor?

Who is the stink bug?

The stink bug, often known as stink bug, is a familiar sight to many. This garden bug lives near raspberry bushes and sometimes right in the berries. With a bright green color and a shape reminiscent of a medieval knight's shield, the stink bug is known for its unique aroma. Even one such bug has such a strong smell that it is difficult not to notice it. Unlike house bugs, stink bugs emit a rich aroma.

This smell is due to the presence in the plants that bedbugs feed of a significant amount of essential oils, which also have a bright aroma. Once processed by the bug's body, these oils form compounds with the pheromones of the bug itself, creating an odor that is hard to miss.

It is important to note that such bugs do not pose a danger to humans and do not live in their living quarters, except in cases where they may accidentally enter the house along with the crop or fly through a window.

Why do bed bugs smell like cognac?

Unlike stink bugs, house bugs are blood-sucking insects and their odor is considered unpleasant. This scent of bedbugs can evoke various associations in people. Some say that the smell of bedbugs is reminiscent of raspberries, others associate it with cognac, as well as the aroma of coriander (a spice obtained from the seeds of cilantro) or even spoiled almonds.

Interestingly, the smell of bedbugs is similar to the aromas of the listed products due to the fact that their secretory glands produce chemical compounds similar to those contained in the mentioned products. One such compound responsible for aroma is trans-tricedenol, an unsaturated aldehyde. This substance is also present in cilantro juice, creating the characteristic aroma of coriander. The name of the plant “coriander” is even translated in Greek as “bug”. The plant needs its unpleasant smell to protect itself from insect pests.

In response to the question “what do bed bugs smell like?” An association with the smell of cognac is often noted. Many people, especially those who cannot stand the smell of cognac, claim that bedbugs smell of this drink, and not vice versa. This is explained by the fact that cognac is aged in oak barrels, where it is saturated with tannins. Often referred to as the “nectar of the gods,” this drink has depth of flavor, astringency, and an astringent effect. The smell of aged cognac is often associated with the aroma of bedbugs.

Thus, similar aromatic chemical compounds are responsible for the smell of insects, spices and even cognac. Interestingly, both bedbugs and coriander use this aroma to repel potential enemies.

Where does the smell of bedbugs come from?

All types of bedbugs have a characteristic odor, which is also evident in their larvae. This smell is determined by the structure of the insect and the functioning of its defense and communication mechanisms. Bedbugs have special glands on their bodies that secrete an odorous secretion containing pheromones. In larvae these glands are located on the abdominal part, and in adults - on the metathorax, one of the thoracic sections of the insect's body. Pheromones released by bedbugs are toxic and pose a danger to other insects.

The active release of pheromones by bedbugs and, consequently, the appearance of their characteristic odor, may be due to the following reasons:

  1. Alarm and protection function: Pheromones serve as a signaling and protection system for the bug, scaring away potential enemies, especially if the insect senses danger.
  2. Bedbug weapon: In the event of an attack on a bug, the concentration of chemicals in pheromones and odor increases, which can even paralyze the enemy.
  3. Reproduction: During the breeding season, bedbugs increase the amount of pheromones released, which is associated with the processes of reproduction and attraction of partners.

Similar to the release of adrenaline in humans, the release of pheromones in bedbugs is a sign of stress, in which the insect seeks to protect itself, using not only the smell, but also chemicals containing this smell.

The presence of a characteristic smell of bed bugs in an apartment may indicate that bed bugs have probably already settled in various places in your home, since it is difficult for a person to distinguish the smell of one or more individuals.

Do bedbugs smell their scent?

It is precisely because of the high sensitivity of bedbugs’ sense of smell that they are easily influenced, and therefore folk recipes for getting rid of bedbugs often include ammonia or other strongly aromatic substances. The intense and pungent odor of these products repels bed bugs, causing them to become disoriented. Under the influence of an unpleasant odor, bedbugs tend to leave the treated space and begin to move randomly across surfaces, leaving their usual shelters.

A remarkable fact is that due to the release of a characteristic odor by parasites, in some countries in Europe and America specially trained dogs help people determine whether there are bedbugs in their home. The ability of dogs to distinguish odors at a much more subtle level than is possible for humans allows them to detect the presence of parasites already in the early stages of infection.

For bed bugs, the sense of smell plays a key role, as these insects rely on their developed sense of smell to navigate in space and find their food source, such as human or animal blood.

What to do if there is a smell of bedbugs in the bedroom?

An unusual odor emanating from bedbugs is a signal that the pest population in your home is increasing. This aroma increases in proportion to the number of bedbugs in the colony, while the smell of a single insect is almost impossible to detect.

When you suspect the presence of a strange aroma reminiscent of cilantro, you must immediately look for the location of the bedbugs and begin exterminating them. Check all corners of the mattress and move the bed away from the wall, as bed bugs prefer to settle on the back walls of furniture.

If bedbugs are found in an apartment, you can use traditional methods of control:

  1. Use of strongly aromatic substances.
  2. Application of natural insecticides.
  3. Impact of temperature.

Surfaces can be treated with ammonia or kerosene, and bedding and clothes can be washed at a temperature of at least 60 degrees. Place aromatic herbs around the apartment, such as tansy, wild rosemary and wormwood, or use their infusion to spray the room, especially in areas where bedbugs accumulate.

These plants produce pyrethrum, a natural insecticide. However, this treatment may be required several times, since it is not effective against parasite eggs, and it is necessary to wait until new insects emerge.

In case of extensive bedbug infestation, it is recommended to seek help from pest control specialists. Experts will select professional preparations in the required concentration, ensuring reliable disposal of bedbugs.

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F.A.Q.

Why is it not recommended to crush bedbugs?

Squashing bedbugs should be avoided, even if they are right in front of you. This is due to the fact that bedbugs can carry pathogens that are dangerous to humans in their stomach and other digestive organs. By squashing a bedbug, you expose yourself to the risk of microparasites or infection that can be inhaled upon contact. If a bug has just bitten you and is still on your body, it is also not recommended to squeeze it to avoid possible infection in a fresh wound.

What smell do bedbugs have?

Bed bugs emit the smell of their pheromones, which insects secrete during periods of danger or mating. The aroma of these pheromones, formed from unsaturated aldehydes - aromatic compounds, varies among different types of bedbugs. For example, bed bug pheromones create an aroma reminiscent of coriander (cilantro).

What do bedbugs hate?

Bedbugs cannot tolerate strong, especially unusual, odors. Their sense of smell plays a key role in spatial orientation, so strong scents can disorient them. In addition, insects cannot tolerate high temperatures, so you can be sure that there will be no bedbugs or their larvae left on clothes washed at 60 degrees.

What does bed bugs smell like?

Bed bugs have an odor that has been compared to cilantro. This tart, sweetish smell serves as a deterrent to potential enemies. Although some claim that a bug can smell like cognac, this is a very controversial opinion, given the differences in cognac production technologies, and not all connoisseurs of the drink confirm the presence of bug notes in its bouquet.

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